Confused Trees Blooming With Fall Flowers

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

It’s hard to believe it’s almost November, especially with the temperatures like we’ve seen lately in the 80s. It’s confusing, not only to us, but to our plants as well.

You may have noticed trees with fall flowers. Crab apples, pear trees and red buds are blooming across the area. Experts say, yes, this is strange, but there’s a reason.

"I have noticed the trees were blooming,” says Tina Knight. “I thought it was weird; I just assumed it was the warm weather that was causing it."

"I think this has been a weird year for plants around here for some reason they are doing things they've never done before,” says Vern Henry. “Hot summer, I can't explain it."

The only way to explain it is to say these spring flowering trees are confused.

"This summer, for a month and half, they just sit there and stop growing,” says Bob Neier of the Sedgwick County Extension Agency. “But then when it cools off, they start blooming.”

Remember the hot and very dry summer? Neier says the trees went into what’s called false dormancy, thinking it was winter. Now, those trees are preparing for spring a few months early.

"It shouldn't kill the trees,” Neier says. “It's not going to hurt it; it will have fewer flowers next spring."

Experts say any time we have such a hot, dry summer, we will see this strange occurrence, but Neier says don’t worry. It’s a sign the trees are still alive.

Because the last two years have been so hot and dry, thousands of trees are dying. The extension agency says bores will start eating away at the trees, and we will continue to see trees dying over the next several years.

Experts say it would be wise to give your trees one last good watering before winter sets in.

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